aka Låt Den Rätte Komma In (Original Title)
115 min., 2008
Written by John Ajvide Lindqvist
Directed by Tomas Alfredson
My rating: ★★★
Great vampires can come in small packages.
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At the beginning of the movie we meet Oskar, a little boy who lives with his mom. As he looks out his window he sees an older man (Håkan) and a little girl (Eli) moving in. The next day at school, we learn that Oskar is picked on by three bullies. The main bully is named Conny, and is consistently calling him “piggy” and telling him to oink. Later that night, Håkan goes out with a bag full of “supplies” and knocks out a teen with Halothane. He then hangs him upside down, cuts his throat and lets the blood fill a jug. While in the process, a dog catches him, causing him to run, leaving the blood jug behind…which makes Eli very mad.
We go back to Oskar and see him stabbing a tree. Then from behind, Eli starts to talk to him and informs him that they can not be friends. The next time the two meet, they seem to be starting a “friendship,” prompting Oskar to give Eli his Rubik’s Cube. While the two talk, Eli’s stomach is continually growling and she is looking very sick, show us that something is wrong. As the movie progresses, there is more picking on Oskar, Eli acting weird and “vampiry,” Håkan making Eli mad, Oskar hanging with his dad, Eli attacking some people, and a body being dumped into some water. This all leads to, sadly, a very predictable ending.
The story of vampires comes in may forms, and this one kinda breaks away from most. Eli never really calls herself a vampire; in fact it’s only Oskar that asks if she is (which she never does answer). Most of the conventions are there: blood drinking, sunlight problems and not being able to enter a home without permission, so we can just assume that she is a vampire.
Lina Leandersson plays Eli superbly. All of the emotions that she expresses are done at the right time and with just the right amount of feeling, just a phenomenal job. Per Ragnar (Håkan) does a great job of looking like a completely worn out errand boy, who just wants to stop what he’s been doing for way too long. The other stand out is Ika Nord (Virginia) who plays the “vampire” that just wants to die. Not fully realizing what’s happening to her and just wanting the confusion to end, she moves with a great air about her. The boy who plays Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant) is the only actor in the movie that leaves a really bad taste in my mouth. I was never really sure if he was supposed to be acting retarded or if he really is. It’s just some of his facial expressions and body movements just scream retarded.
The scenes that involve effects are actually done extremely well. The gore (when called for) is over the top and really nice to see. The smaller scenes with the subtitle effects are a their best, showing just enough for you brain to run wild. Truly some of the best effects I’ve seen in a while. There is a scene with a bed and fire that, instead of CGI, they use real fire and great lighting to achieve a just awesome scene. On the flip side, though, is the one main scene with the cats. CG animals never look good, and when CG cats are swarming someone like bee it looks even fucking rotten, and very easy to laugh at.
One of the best things about the movie is some of the more artsy scenes and shots. The woman that’s walking under a bridge and at the end, Eli drops from the sky like a fucking hawk. That’s cool stuff. There is a shot that’s taken under frozen water of a dead body, then suddenly and quite beautifully a chainsaw cuts into the ice and starts to move across the screen. That was one of the best done shots I’ve seen in a new movie for a really long time.
In the end I have to say that this is one of my more favorite “vampire” films. Not the best I’ve seen, but really darn close. There is something here for almost everyone—gore, atmosphere, all around good acting and effects. The ending being predictable doesn’t really take anything away from it, so do yourself a favor and check this one out.
Ha ha ha ha…CGI cats!!!!!!!Have You Read...?